Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Gallery - Outside My Front Door

I decided to take this literally so here are two photos, the first outside my front door, the second outside my front gate....

So, firstly, hands up, we are a pair of petrol heads here at geriatric towers.  I know it's not pc, but in my defence we don't do a high mileage in these cars (we have a golf for that), and the 4x4 is a necessity for a baby and two estate car doesn't cut it I'm afraid.  Enough of the excuses, we love them.  The 'little sporty number' belongs to The Daddy and is his pride and joy.  The Tank is mine, all 5 litres and V10's of it and I love it.  It's luxurious to drive, feels very safe and secure, but is a wolf in sheep's clothing when you put your foot down.  Fan-bloody-tastic it is :D  I can't tell you much about the Daddy's car as I've only driven it once round the block, and to tell you the truth I prefer mine.  I also don't like the thought of the assumptions some people make about people that drive cars like these.  We have been very fortunate to have had some very lucrative years of late, and we enjoy the spoils that it has afforded us.  It doesn't mean that we are any different in our attitudes and values, and as you all well know we have problems in our lives just like anyone else...

This is our front bank, and you can probably just make out some daffodils starting to flower.  You may also be able to make out that they seem to be more dense at the far end.  This makes me smile every time I see them.  Unusual for me with my OCD tendancies, but there is a reason for this.  These bulbs were planted by my lovely Dad just over two years ago.  It was before he had been diagnosed with early onset dementia.  But this is the evidence that his decline had already started.  As someone, like me, with perfectionistic tendancies, he would typically have made sure the bulbs were perfectly distributed across the length of the bank.  However his organisational skills were already letting him down, and what you see here was the result.  You may think it odd that to see it makes me smile, but it's the fact that it's a lasting memory, every spring, of my Dad being his old helpful self.  Always capable, always willing.  It was probably the last 'helpful'  thing he was able to do for me, so I am grateful to him, and smile in appreciation of his efforts... 

This post was written in response to Tara's Gallery prompt 'What's outside your front door?' Why not hop along to Sticky Fingers and take a look at the other entries?


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Writing Workshop - Introducing Dr, no Mr Star

This weeks writing workshop prompt #3 is 'what do you secretly dream of your children doing?' which is something very close to my heart.  It is no secret what I dream of my Star doing.  Anyone that knows me will know the answer in an instant.  I have thought long and hard about it and will do everything in my power to ensure he has the opportunity and self belief to achieve what is currently my, but hopefully eventually his, dream.

But before I tell you what it is,if you haven't guessed already, I'm going to explain my rationale.  I want my son to have a financially secure future.  Other than poor health I can think of nothing more stressful.  I want him to do a job of which he can be immensely proud.  I want him to do a job that is of real value to society.  I want him to do a job that will enhance his self esteem.  If he does a job that enables him to achieve all these things, I believe this alone puts him well on the way to finding happiness.  I would like Star to become a doctor.  Not any old doctor though, a consultant.

It ticks the financial box, particularly if he does private work a couple of days a week.  He is highly unlikely to ever be unemployed or at risk of redundancy.  And what can give you a better feeling than doing all you can to improve someone's health or quality of life ?

I've even given a little thought as to which field would be best to go into, currently favouring anaesthetics, or even palliative care if he could cope with that emotionally.  There's no responsibility or pressure to actually provide a cure in these areas, again less stressful.  I've no doubt though that if he ends up here, he will find his own calling.

And Star may only be 17mths old but I have already started the master plan to open the doors to enable him to achieve this.  Both his parents have good brains so he should have inherited the required academic capacity.  He already loves books which are by far his favourite past time and the key to the door of academic achievement. But academic achievement alone is not enough to get you into medical college.  You also need to be able to demonstrate that you have shown leadership, shown commitment to a task, shown an ability and a commitment to work in a caring environment.  We're talking volunteer work, playing an instrument and playing for a sports team over a number of years.  All before the age of 18.  And all of which makes for a well balanced, happy, healthy child.  But as important as all of that is The Daddy and I have a major role in opening his eyes to this possibility and showing him that it is a goal that is both achievable and rewarding on so many levels.

Of course, he may decide that medicine is not for him, and that is OK.  As long as he has chosen not to do it, and not bypassed it through a lack of thought or opportunity.  And the worst case scenario is that by the age of 18 his CV will be such that he gets into the university of his choice or gets the job of his dreams.  And my work will be done.

Do you ever wonder what career you would have chosen if only you had known it was an option available to you ?


The Gallery - Me

A once beautiful thing, full of life and vitality... tired, weak, dejected.

The only question is will the passing of time bring renewed vigour and a blossoming future ?


Things That Have Made Me Happy This Month

Despite my frequently miserable state of mind I do have a lot to be grateful for.  Really, loads.  So I thought I would share some of things that have made me happy over the last month.  In no particular order...

  • Star FINALLY decided to walk.  He has been able to walk for months I'm certain but has not been brave enough to go it alone.  I have found this immensely frustrating as he is not only a big lad for his age, and I have a bad shoulder from carrying him around for too long,  but his lack of bravery is not a quality I am able to admire.  I know I should find it endearing but I don't...I will not have a woosy son!  Anyhoo, he did it.  The funny thing was that I had taken him to get his feet measured as he has been in the same shoes since November.  On measuring his feet the shop assistant explained that he only had, at best, a few weeks room left.  She enquired whether he was walking to which I replied that he was 'on the cusp'  but had been at this stage for months.  He was already in the biggest size of 'cruiser' shoes,  and 'walker' shoes would make it harder for him, so we decided to wait a few weeks.  At this stage he was busy walking around the shop holding my sisters hand.  Before turning to her next customer the shop assistant looked at Star and said 'he looks like he's ready to go' and with that he walked the length of the shop.  This video clip was taken on my Blackberry as he walked back down the other side.  As I know you will all appreciate it was a very proud moment...

  • I had a wonderful Mothers Day, thanks to my wonderful husband.  He saw to it that I received three cards, one from him thanking me for being a lovely mummy to our son (really?) one from my boys of the furry variety, and one from Star.  I also received a lovely bouquet of flowers and tickets to see the Strictly Come Dancing Professionals Tour (I'm a huge Strictly fan if you weren't aware).  But probably the best part of mothers day for me was that The Daddy largely took care of Star, and encouraged me to put my feet up whilst bringing endless mugs of tea and food.  Bliss.
  • Said wonderful husband won a prize at work of two VIP tickets and overnight accommodation at a UK sporting event of our choice.  As massive cricket fans we decided to opt for a one day international at Lords against Pakistan in September.  We get to have lunch in the captains lounge, hosted by an ex England captain, and a number of ex England players will be joining us, together with a signed programme by all the sky sports commentators and some kind of keepsake.  I am soooo excited I can't tell you.  Watching a day of international cricket is by far and away the best day out imaginable for me, but Lords...wooohooo!
  • Tomorrow I am having a day at Nirvana Spa.  The Daddy gave my best friend and I a day spa voucher for xmas, and has taken some time off work to look after Star.  I will be handing Star over at 10am and need to be back for 5.30pm so the Daddy can work.  During that time I will be doing...absolutely nothing.  Except maybe eating lunch and drinking tea, oh and lots of chatting and putting the world to rights.  If I'm feeling very energetic I may even manage a length or two of the pool...
  • The sunshine is also making me happy this month.  We have had a fair few sunny days, and all the daffodil and crocus bulbs on our front bank that my dear Dad planted for us a couple of years ago have started flowering. It looks so pretty...picture postcard pretty. 
  • My Secret Post Club gift arrived and was truly amazing.  So much thought had clearly gone into it, and as it was from a blogger previously unknown to me she must have done a  lot of research.  Each gift was individually wrapped and there was a hand written card, explaining the significance of each one.  To go into detail on it all would make this already too long post even longer but suffice to say it included a book, things for the kitchen, decorative things, edible things, and holistic things..all of which I love.  So a big shout out and THANK YOU to Dales Lass who blogs at Tales From The Dales and tweets as Pendlewitch.  It really does make your day to receive a surprise gift, especially one that hits the spot in so many ways...

  • Last but not least I received an email from Intense Debate today saying that they had released the fix on the comments issue I had been having. So leave me a comment and we'll see if it has worked ;o)


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Getting Fit...Can I Do It ?

Is enjoying exercise something that you are born with or is it something that can be learned ?  I don't know the answer to that but hopefully I am about to find out...

I have been a life long couch potato.  I have never been sporty and as with everything else in my life, if I'm not good at it I don't like doing it.  I don't like playing in team games due to both the fear of letting down my team mates, but also knowing that I wouldn't be best pleased if I thought they had let me down.  I am fiercely competitive, and there is a danger that partaking in sport will bring out a less attractive part of my character.  As far as other fitness activities go, I would simply rather sit and drink tea and read a blog :o/  Swimming is too wet and cold, aerobics classes too cliquey, the gym too boring.  Are you getting the picture ?

You might assume from this that I am permanently dieting.  Not so.  I was lucky to inherit the skinny gene from somewhere, and whilst I make every effort to eat a healthy, wholegrain diet and am virtually teetotal, nothing is off limits.  And therein, I believe, lies a large part of my lack of exercise problem.  I am vain enough that if I were overweight the benefit of exercise would outweigh my dislike for it.  

I have been conscious for a number of years that exercise is the one missing ingredient in my healthy lifestyle.  My diet is good, I don't have any toxins of the tobacco, alcohol, chemical variety, I take supplements to ensure I receive optimum nutrition, but I don't break into a sweat.  I have thought about it often, but that's as far as it's gone.  Until now.

I think there is a name for when a number of coincidences collide to give you the impetus you need to make a change.  Well, whatever it is, it happened to me this week.  Firstly my blogging friend Dawn over at The Moiderer has started running.  You can read all about it on her blog, but it got me thinking, and left me feeling slightly ashamed of myself.  Then my dear friend Amanda came over and showed me a running app she has on her Iphone (Amanda is doing a half marathon on Sunday so is a seasoned pro).  Now I may not like exercise but I do like gadgetry.  I don't have an Iphone but I do have an IPodTouch and so I decided to have a little look, where I found a 'Get Running' app which will coach you whilst you go from the couch to running 5K. I also figured that to get the blood pumping a bit may not be a bad thing on the baby making front, and I know it's important for the prevention of many diseases, including dementia.  Last but not least, I think the best way to teach your children is by example, and I want my boy to be fit and healthy, and that includes enjoying exercise.

So, tomorrow my friends I shall start.  I have childcare tomorrow afternoon and will do my first run, or rather run/walk x 8.  I will do this three times a week, when childcare permits.  The only question is, will I achieve my mission and get fit, or will I fall by the wayside ?


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Gallery - White

This is my first entry, and I'm fighting against feeling intimidated as I am no photographer, but what the hell.  I think this one is rather good.  And yes I know it's not about the quality of the photo, but it's the perfectionist in me...

I think it's fairly self explanatory why I chose white so I won't waffle on about that but some context for you...

This is a zoomed in view from the back of my house/garden.  We are very lucky to have quite a large garden with agricultural style fencing around it.  Beyond the fencing is a 'set aside' field which means that it is not actively farmed in any way, no livestock, no crops, and it can only be mowed once a year in August.  At the far end of the field is this house.  I took the photo in January this year leaning over the fence at the bottom of our garden.  I love this view in all seasons.  I think it is a lovely house, architecturally, and I like the way it nestles amongst the trees.  Of course the trees, and the foreground look very different through the seasons which keeps it interesting. 

I see this view (although more distant) from  my kitchen window, and every time I look at it, it soothes my soul :o)


Monday, 15 March 2010

The Photo Lottery

I have been tagged by my very special bloggy friend Dawn at The Moiderer to partake in the photo lottery meme. This is quite fun as it doesn't require alot of thought and the rules are not too arduous as you will see below.

1. Open the first (oldest) photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread

I decided to use the PC rather than my laptop as the laptop is relatively new and in all likelihood would have thrown up yet another photo of Star. Sadly the PC didn't do much better. I thought I may have been able to share a holiday snap, and there have been many, but alas no. My 10th oldest photo was taken in April 2005...

This is my beloved Dexter shortly after we brought him home. It was either taken on the day, or the day after so he would have been almost 8 weeks old. Having had a new puppy and a new baby I can honestly say that the first few weeks were very similar in terms of a massive love in but without the sleepless nights. He is dozing on the sofa here (a bad habit that we should never have started - Doh!) but at night he slept in a crate in the kitchen. He didn't cry at all, and he never wet his bed. I used to get up at 7am to take him into the garden and give him his breakfast and then he and I would snooze on the sofa until about 9am. He would lay on my chest with his face against was a very special time. The only problem is he is still just as soppy and tactile, but at about six stone it's not so easy these days. He does all he can to be close, leaning against me, resting his head on my lap but I don't think it is quite the same for either of us...but he's still a gorgeous boy in every way:)

I now need to tag five people so I will try and pick some that are known to take the odd photo or two...

Make Do Mum
Sleep Is For The Weak
Very Bored In Catalunya
Single Motherhood Challenges

Off you go now tagees, no cheating ;0)


Sunday, 14 March 2010

My Blogging Break

I know that it's not generally recommended that you do a blog post about why you haven't 
been posting but I do feel the need to explain...

First of all, those of you that take the time to comment here (and thank is something that means SO much to me), will be aware of the issues I have been having with my comments system.  You leave a comment, and it never appears on the blog.  I know how frustrating this must be and, believe me, it's doubly so for me.  The thing is, I do get to see them all, and I reply to them all, it's just that at the moment you can't see it.  This is caused by google reader adding something to the link when you click through to my post which my comments system recognises as a separate page from those that go directly to my blog.  I know I could change to a different system but I like this one.  I've looked at the alternatives and I like the way this looks and it does exactly what I want it to do...when it works.  There is a fix on the way which will resolve this both going forward and retrospectively so I'm going to try and be patient.  In the meantime, however, it has made me reluctant to post as I don't want my readers to lose heart and not bother to comment, thinking that it will be lost for ever.  So, I just wanted to say please bear with me, it will be resolved and all your comments and my replies will appear.

You will also have noticed that I have been rather neglecting my commenting duties on your blogs too.  And for those on Twitter you may have noticed that my tweeting is much less frequent.  There are a few reasons for this that I will now explain.

Following recent developments on the baby making front that you have all read about I have been really struggling, in quite a dark place.  I don't want to dwell on this as I'm now feeling much better but suffice to say that I wasn't in the mood to interact, in any way.  Also, whenever I have dipped my toe back in the water it seems that so many blogs and tweets are about pregnancy or new babies.  Now please don't misunderstand, I am very happy for all these lovely ladies and certainly don't hold any ill feeling toward them, but at the moment I just don't want to hear about it.  At all.  It just brings to the front of my mind all my current heartache which I am trying to move on from, and trying to be positive.

Last but not least I have been doing most of my blog reading on my IPodTouch in bed in the evenings.  This works well, as I like to read before I go to sleep but more often than not I don't seem to be able to comment. I type it in but don't seem to be able to submit it.  In future I will have to make a mental note of posts I want to comment on and do it the next day, it just seems like such hard work :s

So there we have it.  If you're feeling neglected or thought I had disappeared I hope this has put your mind at rest.  I have lots of posts in my head, and feel I have lots of catching up to do so don't be surprised if I'm making up for lost time in the over the next week ;-)

Friday, 5 March 2010

My Space - A Guest Post

Today, I'm very happy to be introducing a guest post here at Geriatric Mummy's.  And being used to my mundane ramblings you are in for a real treat.  Erica over at Little Mummy's decided to run a guest post swap and 'Musings of a Geriatric Mummy' was paired with 'Very Bored In Catalunya'.  And here is is...a little bit of Catalunian sunshine to brighten your day :-)

My space is home, filled with chuckles, deep hearty manly chuckles and infectious little boy chuckles.  Cuddles and beaming smiles, administering magic kisses on poorly knees. The sound of background noise, radio 2 or an Indie music TVchannel or more often than not, Peppa Pig.   Not too loud, because I like to think.  The computer humming, the tapping of the keys as I twitter or blog or facebook the hours away.

My space is blue, blue skies and blue, blue sea punctuated with the green, green rice fields.  The heady perfume of orange groves in spring, the sticky sweet scent of rice in summer and sadly the smell of manure (chicken shit?) in winter.  A lone shepherd meandering his way down dirt tracks and country lanes, his flock of goats & sheep following timidly behind in search of tasty grazing.

My space is the beach, watching my boy splashing in the surf and listening to the sounds of the waves gently lapping the shore.  A double cone of cherry and chocolate ice cream before we go home or a fragrant spit roasted chicken to take away.  A seaview restaurant serving paella made with local fish and rice, the food of my doorstep.

My space is a bicycle ride through the Delta, following the flat, flat roads through the seemingly never ending rice fields, to where the River Ebro finally spills into the Mediterranean.  The Mussel farm nets lacing the shore.  A natural habitat for thousands of different birds, a nesting and breeding place for beautiful flamingos.  A place so peaceful and tranquil, save for the odd hunter shooting duck.

My space is a boat trip down the river Ebro, t’husband at the helm, helped by Able Seaman Joseph.  The warm sun reflecting off the cool green water.  The mountains setting a stunning backdrop.  Mullet & carp leaping out of the water, probably being chased by the giant catfish lurking in the murky depths.

My space is my rooftop terrace, where at night the unadulterated sky sparkles with the brightest stars and the biggest moon, and the occasional Ryanair flight from Reus to Luton or Stanstead.  The scent of our BBQ dinner still in the air as we sip (sup) some of the finest wine in the world from vineyards we can drive to. The mosquitoes revelling in the feast that is my English blood.  In the day the bourgeonvilla creeps its way along the wall and blooms its pinkest flowers, my Lime tree refuses to flourish or fruit, the little purple flowers who name I don’t know, permeate the air with their fragrance.

My space is my bed, the far right hand side nearest the en suite and the door.  I say the far right hand side, not because we have a big bed but because I am usually left with about 2 inches of bed space after t’husband has sprawled himself out.  A trusty book by my side, to lose myself in and be transported to another world before sleep takes over.

My space is far away, off to some distant place in my mind, present, future or past.  Daydreaming and scheming, planning and wishing.   Sadly all too often, about being somewhere else.   

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Doesn't it sound like a fabulous place to live, and to bring up a child?...all that outdoor time. As someone who yearns for sunshine I'm very envious. If you would like to hear more of life for a 'late 30's stay at home mum to Joseph aged 3 and wife to t'husband' who is 'plodding my way through my Catalan life by wasting time knitting, sewing and blogging instead of ironing and cleaning' Head on over. She sounds like a gal that has her priorities right ;-) There's a lovely mix of posts, but the sunshine always comes through and I usually leave with a smile on my face. Oh and she supports Nottingham Forest Football Club, and that alone makes her a fab blogger...


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A little bit of swinging...

...not that sort. tutt.

Came across this today, and thought I would have a go at posting it.  Firstly, a couple of my very good friends are having a tough time at the moment, Mummy at TheMadHouse  and the lovely Amanda, who hasn't yet stepped into this mad world of blogging, and I thought this may put a little smile on their faces, even if ony for a short while.  God knows we could all do with a little light relief from time to time.  I also thought it would give me an opportunity to lose my 'vlogging cherry' as it were...

This is Star, taken in Sept 09, aged almost 11 months at our village swings.

However, I then came across this one, which I think will even tempt  a chuckle.  This was taken in early January this year, and features Star, aged almost 15 mths, in his fun pod, playing 'catch' with my mother.

And with that, I bid you goodnight :)


Monday, 1 March 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On...on Groundhog Day

Before I start, I will issue the obligatory warnings.  This is a post about baby making, has more than it's fair share of self pity and depressive content, will undoubtedly contain information of the 'too much information' genre, and will be even more rambling than normal...incomprehensible even.  If you are not up for a post like this, please click away now.  You have been warned.

Still here?  Ok, well, I'm sure you've guessed that I'm not pregnant, again.  But there is so much more to tell, because I am certain that I was, even though I didn't get a positive pregnancy test.  Here's why. From 10 to 13 days after the IUI I had the symptoms...metallic taste in my mouth, needing to wee all the time, tingling and expanding breasts (when I was expecting Star I went up 2 cup sizes in the first 8 weeks), a slight rounding of my lower abdomen and a feeling of heaviness (I have a BMI of 19, so if there is anything going on there is nowhere to hide, and again I had the same with Star at about 5 weeks) and last but not least I had no premenstrual breakout.  I told myself not to get too carried away after what happened last time, and not to test until 18 days post IUI (when I tested for Star) as anything could happen.  And of course, I was right to think that because 14d.p.iui all the symptoms I had been experiencing stopped, and my body returned to 'normal' until yesterday when we started back at day 1.  And more confirmation that I was pregnant, as it's not 'normal', much more loss than usual, and tiny clots (sorry, tmi).

So there we have it.  And I am once again devastated.  I can't even call it a miscarriage as I never had a positive test.  So I'm sitting here feeling in limbo, not knowing what to think or how to feel, other than utterly dejected and in despair.  I have so many questions, but nobody to ask.  If, at 40, you have two 'miscarriages' in three attempts does this mean that your eggs are shot to pieces and there is no point going on?  Does the fact that they were both very early 'miscarriages' have any significance?  Is it that my eggs are fine, but there is something preventing my body from doing this pregnancy thing again ?  Both times I have been feeling really under the weather with a nasty, and prolonged cold (this time I'm 2 weeks in and no sign of recovery) and I'm normally really healthy and don't get ill.  Is there a connection ?  Is my body so under par that it cannot cope with a pregnancy ?

Then you move onto the wider issues.  Maybe I need to accept that I'm too old, and that I cannot have another.  Maybe it's fate.  Maybe I'm supposed to put all my energy into raising one fantastically special boy.  It's the not knowing that is the problem.  If only I could see into the future and know if it's worth continuing the fight, because that's what it feels like, a fight against my tired, weary, ageing body.  It's not like it's a straightforward process to continue.  It takes over your life, and no matter how hard you try you just can't focus on anything else.  It's expensive, and we could spend that money on something much more pleasurable. It's inconvenient, having to plan your life around cycle days, and trips to clinics.  And of course, it's bloody painful.  I would willing go through all of this for as long as it takes if I knew that at the end of it I would have a sibling for Star.  He deserves it.  But the thought of continuing only to fail...

I feel that everywhere I turn there is a reminder, pregnant women everywhere, on the tv, on twitter, in real life.  My one local 'mummy' friend, or perhaps more an acquaintance is expecting her second baby in July.  She is in her late 30's and exactly the same number of weeks that I would have been had I not miscarried the first time.  I have 'texted' and 'facebooked' my hearty congratulations but I don't want to see her.  It's not a problem yet as we only saw each other about once every three or four months but at the very least I will have to go and visit after she has the baby.  The issue I have is that I know I'm starting to feel bitter and I don't like myself for that.  I look at all these pregnant women and feel that it's so unfair because I do everything 'right'.  I don't drink alcohol, I don't have caffeine, I eat organic wholefoods, I take supplements, I drink/cook/bathe in filtered water, I'm not why me?

So here we are, day 2, and what to do ?  Tomorrow I need to start the drugs, but it all seems so pointless at the moment.  I could have a break, but tick tock tick tock...that's not going to help my chances.  So, I guess I'll just carry on regardless, hoping that all I need is one good egg.  In the meantime, I'll try and hold it all together, try not to think about it all, try not to cry more than a couple of times a day, and try to 'keep calm and carry on'.